What’s got into Gorgeous George Galloway? I suspect that he’s trying for some sort of Islamic chic, but if so he’s seriously misjudged it. With every appearance he’s more and more like Riff Raff from the Rocky Horror Show, a vampire on a weekend off look, all skinny trousers, dinner jacket and open necked wing collar. Middle aged men with the usual middle aged spread around the midriff do not look good in tight skinny trousers, it makes them look top-heavy. George looked in fact, like nonsense on stilts.
Since George started his Just Say Naw tour, the gap between Yes and No has continued to narrow. He’d have been much better off going the whole hog and adopting the Middle Eastern goonie thing, at least then he’d have looked like a Sith Lord and could have scared an Ewok off the idea of independence.
Missing only the mascara, it’s an image more commonly associated with morose teenagers who paint their bedrooms black and get depressed that no one understands them, which may also be George’s sentiments given the progress of his political career. It may not be entirely clear what fashion statement Darth Naw is trying to make, but it’s safe to say he’s not making the statement he thinks he’s making. Which is also a fair assessment of just about everything that comes out of his gob.
Of course, criticising a person’s appearance is playing the man, not the ball. It’s childish and immature, but then so am I, so at least I’m consistent, which is more than can be said for George’s arguments. However the problem for anyone critiquing George’s debating points is that, as far as Scottish independence is concerned, the state eunuchs in the court of the Chinese Emperor have more balls.
George was appearing on BBC2 in a Newsnicht special debate with Jim Sillars. It was at least a civilised and non-shouty debate, which just goes to show what can be achieved when Anas Sarwar is kept away from the proceedings. Sadly however, the arguments from George did not live up to the respectful hearing he received.
The arguments the Gorgeous One makes boil down to this: George hates the SNP, the SNP stand for Scottish independence, George hates Scottish independence. That’s it. No matter what pseudo-intellectual arguments he puts forward, no matter how many rhetorical flourishes he employs, George can’t see beyond his traditional Labour loathing for Alicsammin. He can’t understand, he refuses to understand, that independence is not a vote for Alicsammin. It’s about the only link he still retains with the Labour party.
We got the recycled rhetoric that George’s flag is the red flag not the Union flag or the Saltire. He’s still not explaining what this actually means, nor why his flag being the red flag seems to depend upon Scotland keeping the Union flag. George’s red flag is emblazoned with a large photo of George. He only wants Scotland to stay in the Union so he has a taller soapbox to stand on and wave it.
George doesn’t want independence because the SNP isn’t a socialist party. He’s one of those socialists who believes that pragmatism and socialism are incompatible. For most on the left in Scotland, an independent Scotland offers working class people a better prospect of socialist policies actually being adopted and implemented than the chances of that ever happening under the Westminster system. That’s the point. No one expects guarantees, no one expects a socialist nirvana. Independence is about realism – and so is proper socialism – unlike the delusional dream of the British Parliamentary Road to Socialism, which just about everyone except George has realised leads to a private driveway where G4S provides security so John Prescott can park his two Jags without having to worry about someone nicking the hubcaps to help pay the shortfall in their Housing Benefit.
But what most roused George’s ire was when Jim Sillars referred to him as an English MP. George took this as a foul insult, and complained about how the evils of nationalism could infect even the impeccably socialist and inclusive credentials of Jim Sillars. But just a few moments later he admitted Jim’s point, saying that he’d oppose a currency union between the rUK and an independent Scotland because it wouldn’t be in the interests of his constituents – in England.
Instead of offering a roadmap to a socialist future which encompasses all of the peoples of these islands, George had nothing except exhortations and a wagging finger. Aye George, we know, working class people in Glasgow have the same concerns as working class people in Liverpool, you’ve said that before. And so do working class people in Dublin, you always miss that bit out. He doesn’t explain, because he can’t explain, why solidarity is contingent upon Westminster. Westminster is not a body noted for its solidarity with working class causes, and neither is the Labour party for these past 2 decades.
George asserted that getting rid of Trident in an independent Scotland would be meaningless, as the rUK would still have nukes. George has been a long standing supporter of the view that the UK should disarm unilaterally, meaning that the US, Russia, France and the other nuclear powers would still have nukes and the quantity of warheads which could be detonated in a conflict would still be able to destroy the planet many times over. So the UK’s unilateral disarmament would be merely symbolic, although still an important symbol. Scotland’s rejection of nuclear weaponry doesn’t count. We’re too wee for George, even as a symbol.
George is convinced that the only way to get rid of nukes is through a united and socialist Labour party that’s committed to peace, disarmament, and social redistribution. But if George has a timetable for the arrival of such a Labour party, he’s not for telling.
Jim Sillars was ready for this tactic, and produced a wee scrap of paper from his pocket, on which he’d written a few lines George had spouted just a few years ago. In a previous debate, George had described Labour and the Tories as two cheeks of the same arse, and complained that you couldn’t get a sixpence between them. George has no crowbar with which to separate them.
Jim Sillars does. It’s a yes vote in September. Jim’s quiet and non-flashy determination speaks to the Scottish working classes far more loudly than anything that issues from George’s lips. That’s why yes is going to win.